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journalWelcome to my online journal. I'm Alex Mead. For many years people called me AMPro --so much so that it seemed like my name. More recently, a lot of people on the internet have come to know me as green.earth.al and in show biz...My Rap Name is Alex. Whatever name I'm known by, I still seem to have the same opinions and convictions, I still like to write and make public my introspection and try to say something that will provoke some thoughts and help people see the world in new and helpful ways.
December 2005
Oh YES IT DOES rain in Southern California.
this journal entry posted on December.31.2005

It had been three very long months since I'd seen my Heather dearest. Christina and her boyfriend Andrew had agreed to give me a ride out to the airport to collect her. We were a bit late and so I was rushing up the escalator, got up to the second floor and was looking around wondering where to begin looking for her. Then came a tap on my shoulder. She was already there standing right next to me. That's a pretty apt metaphor for us.

So the four of us went to the Push Party and saw some local activist organizers doing their party thing. That was fun.

The next day Heather and I caught up with Jim from the Buffalo Peace People. Jim and I can't seem to get it together and actually meet without Heather's help. Mostly my fault maybe. In any case it was so good to see him again and catch up some. I worked that day though so I sorta fell asleep while we were talking. :(

That was to be my last day of work for 2005 though. For we were now headed to Souther California, courtesy of Uncle Walter, to hand out with my cousin Gwenda and her family in advance of her wedding.

Okay, so, free trip to southern California to hang out with Heather and my cousin and not work. Yeah, I can handle that. It was right on time for me. I really needed a little recooperation break from work, and I sorely needed to see Heather again, and I had not seen my cousin in 12 years.

While we were out there it was cold and rainy. But that was fine, the plan was to go there and hang out. Mission accomplished.

It's weird being in the L.A. area and seeing that people have those same inflatable snowmen on their lawns when there's no snow there. I'd have never imagined that.

We got to meet my friend Echewta from the internet. He took us around to see some Disney corporate stuff. Not exactly me n Heather's thing but I think my cousin really appreciated it. She's a Disney fan.

I got to meet my other cousin Amy's son Zion. He's a bright and charming little fellow. Quite the cunning board game player.

And then, before you know it, vacation over, 2005 over, time with Heather over. Sigh. Plane trip back to Buffalo. Took a cab half way home and walked the other half. As 2005 turned into 2006 I was hauling my luggage through the snow of Buffalo hoping that copies of my new book would be waiting for me when I got home. And they weren't. Soon, soon.

2005 was pretty kick ass all things considered. And the plans for 2006 are pretty ambitious, but that's the best kind of plans to have.


Finally!!: BOOK!
this journal entry posted on December.24.2005

At long last!

I have been killing myself trying to get this book finished. Run well over my self imposed deadline, but finally the drawings are drawn, the end notes are noted, the characters are all doing what they're supposed to be doing and...

Relations book 2 - SMASH YOUR TV! is available for purchase.

And so's this neato Relations 2 t-shirt by the way.

But yeah, I am so glad to be across the finish line. The Cycle is once again complete. I can stop, breathe, sleep. Maybe I can even clean the house a little before Heather gets here on Monday. I feel like I can suddenly do anything I want. I don't even have work today or tomorrow (some kind of Christmas thing). I'll probably just end up catching up on my email or something like that. Or maybe I'll go read a book.

I should probably email everybody I know and see if they want to buy a book.

Peace & Love,

Sock Hands
this journal entry posted on December.17.2005

Okay, so sometimes, when I'm out there rideing my bicycle through the deep snow and the freezing temperatures, it's not really that enjoyable at the moment. Nevertheless, every year, when the temperature warms --that first day when I can go riding in a t-shirt without a jacket-- and I haven't given those bloody evil auto insurance companies any money, nor the vile auto repair places, and no Iraqi child has been killed to get me some gasoline, I feel this enormous sense of accomplishment. It's my thing I guess.

So, yeah, that's still months away at this point. And right now, it's COLD AS F***!

Once upo a time they didn't have car with heaters and stuff. And people lived here, even then. And somehow they got around and got their children to school and stuff. They must have known something about bundling up and keeping their extremities warm. So, me, I just figure I need to be on a continuous quest to rediscover what they knew.

I seem to have good luck in the winter stuff department. Seems like every time I lose a pair of gloves I'll ride by a pair of abandoned gloves in the street. Or someone will give me a pair. And the super warm scarf that my sweetheart gave me last year for my birthday is a huge help in my cold armor. And the awesome free shoes that Edie U gave me for reading my book to him last year, falling apart sorta, but still very, very warm. Put a couple layers of socks on and I make the 5 mile treck to work with my feet still warm. However, my hands, freezing cold! I had an elaborate 3 layer glove construction of free gloves, but, basically, they'd gotten to many holes in them. No longer workin.

Okay, so one day, few weeks ago, I'm coming out of the money co-op and I ran into my fried Chris B. (pictured above) and he had pairs of socks on his hands. And so I was like, hrm... that looks kind of weird. But I thought about how warm my feet were and how cold my hands were. And I considered how much I absolutely don't care if I look weird with socks on my hands. So, the next day, I put a couple pairs of gloves on and a couple pairs of socks on over em. And, whereas normally my hands would be freezing after 5 minutes, my hands stayed warm for almost a full half hour. Takes longer than a half hour to bike to work, but still, that was a HUGE improvement. And I have lots of socks. So, pretty much, Chris is a genius.

Only remaining problem was that it's pretty hard to move your hands once you have too many layers of socks on them. I would have to just trade off and put one hand in my jacket pocket and then the other one after a half hour. And it's dangerous enough biking a snow storm with two hands and full use of your thumbs. So I wasn't quite satisfied with this. I kept thinking, they really need to make mittons out of jacket material. Or jackets that go all the way down over your hands like mittons.

And then it occured to me! Oven mits! Oven mits are just like mittons made out of jacket material. So I stopped off at one of those little mini-Wal-Marts (those dollar store things) and surrendered a couple dollars to them and got some oven mits.

Bam! I get all the way to work with warm hands and can ride two handed the whole time.

Problem Solved.

Rosemary's Family
this journal entry posted on December.11.2005

December 10th was the day my book was supposed to come out. Way it worked in my dream was that I would have a nice stack of shiny new books, I would throw a reading party at my house on Dec.10 and we would all read it and love it and buy copies for our friends and neighbors.

As the 10th rolled around, I had no book finished, the house was a total mess, and there was no way I could afford to take a day off from work anyway.

In early November a card came in the mail inviting me to Rosemary's 60th birthday from her daughter Rachel. But it was for the 10th and that was book release day so there was no way I could go. A few weeks later she called on the phone and I was starting to realize that Dec 10th was not going to be book release day, but I still had to work. She informed me that the party was happening after work, in the evening, and that a ride could be provided and that any excuse I might come up with she would find an answer for. So, apparently I was going to Rosemary's 60th birthday celebration. Great, I hadn't seen Rosemary or any of the family other than Rachel in a LONG time.

So, after work I took a long hot shower to try to get the grime of a thousand tires off of me. I put on nice clothes for the first time in a long time. In fact, they were the only nice semi-formal clothes that I have and they were clothes that Rosemary bought me back in high school. Happy to say they hang even looser on me than they did back in highschool thanks to my newfound fitness. Then I hopped on my bike and made my way over to the big community center.

There at the community center were all of the people that I associate with Rosemary. Rosemary's family, all of Rosemary & my mom's old co-workers (who I had not seen since my mother died), a few of her husband Barry's teacher friends (including my old math teacher from high school (who taught me lots of math that I still use constantly)). It was just a great scene. A HUGE room filled with the kinds of people that would have the good sense to associate themselves with Rosemary. All of us waiting for Rosemary's grand entrance because this was a surprise party. By the size of it, it was clearly going to be a SURPRISE party. Rosemary has touched so many people, and so many of them showed up to express gratitude. (And maybe a lot of them got the same phone call from Rachel that I got)

So when Rosemary showed up it was crazy. She almost fell out from all the people that were there as it is, but then they had more of her sisters flown in from around the country and they were all brought in after her. I guess the plan was just to overwhelm her with how loved she is, and it totally worked. All kinds of people from the Rosemary family, including folks like myself who haven't been around so much lately, all under one roof. It was as hartwarming a moment as ever has there been.

They went around and asked people if they wanted to speak on the microphone about Rosemary and I begged off at first, but then I thought about it and realized this was totally my chance to say all of the things that I never communicated with my words, about how much her help meant to me when we were fighting the hospitals to get my mother the care she deserved. So, I changed my mind and asked them to let me speak, and I ended up near the bottom of the list. All kinds of people had all kinds of wonderful things to say about Rosemary. It felt great to get my chance to tell Rosemary what she has meant to me in front of all of those people, and to tell her that I love her. Being in the Rosemary family really is one of the best things that can ever happen to you.

And lots of my mom's coworkers came up to me and told me great things about my mom and about myself and how I was growing up and the like. It was really awesome.

At the end of the nights, when the dancing started breaking out... man... Rosemary has a great nephew, and... he just has to be one of the best breakdancers I have ever seen. I had figured it was over, and that Breakdancing was an ancient art by now, but apparently its a new thing again. He was like liquid energy, just all kinds of fun to watch. He kept trying to get his friend to break with him, with sporadic success. His friend seemed a bit shy to break for a huge audience. So, having no choice, I jumped on the floor and just let the music take me. I only danced for a few minutes off and on, but it was good. It felt multi-generational for a minute, even though Rose's grand nephew was kinda like "what the hell is this guy?" It was kinda fun to just pull it out of nowhere and moonwalk around the dancefloor and such.

And there was great food. Some of it, a little bit, was even food that I could eat. I thought I was gonna be relegated to the vegetable tray or something. So I got free food, dancing, a chance to express what Rosemary means to me, and to see lots of old friends.


this journal entry posted on December.05.2005

Now that I'm all old and what not, my birthday's not much of a big to do. Rosemary Soffin always remembers. She left a great phone message on the answering machine. So that would have been enough I guess. I would have said, "that's one person that remembers, that's enough."

Except, now... Now I have Heather. Heather has been everything to me over my last four birthdays. I had just met her just in time to my birthday as I was turning 32 so for my birthday I got to go from feeling like I had no one to feeling like I finally understood what this whole love business was all about. Then for my next birthday she saved my sanity by advocating for me in the hospital and preventing them from all the thousands more in medical bills that they had in mind for me if I wouldn't have had someone to get them to stop. I couldn't get their attention being all laid up in the bed like that, so she was willing to be my legs and find them and get them to release me.

Heather is just awesome. And I so totally love her.

This year, my birthday was sort of like take your roommate to work day. My boss was really looking for more workers and so Jesse came down to try out with the tire throwing. It didn't really work out. He's not in tire throwing shape. I didn't get to load as many trucks as I'd have liked because I was showing him what's what, but that's okay. If it would have worked out I'd have been really glad that I slowed down to show him, so it was worth a shot. So we didn't end up becoming a two income household, Jesse was still unemployed and relying on unemployment income, but I was just glad that my checks kept going up and I was going to be able to finally get to a few credit card bills.

When I got home, Heather had sent me an email with another voice recording in it. Because that's how we do. Me and Heather are poor. A lot. We agreed long ago that we wouldn't buy each other stuff, and I'm glad we did. I think we may have started that because we met right after her birthday and right before mine and I had asked her for a "creative gift". Best things in life are free kind of stuff. And that's what we've been doing since. Putting ourselves into gifts and sending them when we can. Not just waiting for special occasions, but just sending I love you gifts when we're feeling it. When we finally get around to being not poor, I hope we still do it the same way. They say chocolate makes you feel loved. Wiggles some chemical whoozawhats i your brain and such and stimulates your love centers. I always used to eat chocolate trying to figure out what love felt like. Man. Chocolate doesn't make me feel loved. Heather makes me feel loved. People, humans, relationships, that stuff is where it's at.

I think about her all the time. The other day I was trying to pin it down in my mind and articulate to myself what the love business is all about.

For me, having grown up an only child that got his way nearly all the time, relationships were an extension of that. I would have relationships with women and I would always have my mental powers at work trying to figure out how to get my way in all things all the time. I had a pretty high success rate too. I am a nice enough and effectionate enough boyfriend that I could just create this sence of obligation.

Being with Heather is so easy. If there's ever a disagreement on how to proceed, I can just sit back and say "we'll do it her way." Whoever's way we go with doesn't matter. The mind games in past relationships were such a waste of energy. Mind games in general are such a waste of energy. They must have seemed like a good idea at the time, but now they're not needed. And it's an unexpected relief to be free from them. We've done things Heather's way tons of times, and it works out. I not only feel that it's okay to do things her way, but I feel like there's even a good chance her way will work out even better than my way. I feel safe in her hands. Things that I've thought were absolutely insane and had to be dragged into totally against my will... they've worked out for me. These days, I'm a bigger fan of her way than she is. Her way hasn't always been working out for her personally so much lately. But in continues working wonders for me.

This post probably has a lot more words in it than I ever intended. And it still doesn't begin to convey what I set out to express. The fact that so many people that know and care about me don't understand precicely why Heather is such a huge part of the rest of life strikes me as some sort of failure on my part. The fact that she herself doesn't seem to understand what she means to me or why, a bigger one still.

2006 will have to about fixing this. I love her so much, and she has so many great ideas and so much potential to give to the world, what she has to suffer is just unacceptable. So something has to change.

Me n Mr.#56
this journal entry posted on December.04.2005

So, on the off chance that anyone ever reads this journal in chronological order, last week's entry was about the nefarious abduction of my good friend Mr. #56. But, in actuality, he went missing sometime in late October or early November.

Mr. #56 is a "stacker". He's a palett jack. He has three wheels, an electric motor, and a hydraulic lift thing that goes way up into the air. Sometimes he rolls over my foot, which is not enjoyable because Seņor #56 is very heavy.

Mr.56 looks a little bit like the picture in this journal entry, except he's the model from about 5 years ago or something and he looks like he's been through about 10 years of warfare. There is a significant amount of battle damage on him. He has a big #56 painted on his cross bar.

All of the stackers at work are very different. It's sort of like a video game where you have a team of people and they all have different attributes. You know, you can chose to use the fast one or the agile one or the really strong one. Well, that's what the palett jacks are like. There's one that goes back and forth very fast. There's one where the Hydraulic lift goes up and down really fast (that my boss has claimed, and always wants to use), there's an all purpose one, there's one that recharges fast and holds it's charge for a long time so that it can do a lot of trucks without recharging. That last one is Mr. 56. And he also has buttons on his handle so that I can multitask. The other stackers involve more stopping and reaching over and grabbing the lever and stuff. #56 is the stacker I was trained on, it was the stacker I was used to, it was the stacker that I could do my job most efficiently on.

And then one day he was gone.

And one by one all of the good stackers all got sent to the garage for repairs. There was a week or two where everybody was pretty mean and grumpy because there were no good stackers to use. One by one all of the other stackers came back except for #56. They mostly didn't seem to work any better than they did before they went in for repairs. More weeks went by and I just tried to get used to doing my job without him. I had learned to cope. Figured I'd never see him again.

On Friday, December two, 2005, I went into work and all of a sudden, there was mr. #56. I actually hugged a piece of machinery right there on the warehouse floor. I like my job. I especially like my job when I have the equipment to do it in a timely manner and make a decent buck. The time I spent learning to cope with his absense had actually made me a better loader. Some of the coping techniques I had learned still applied.

When they took #56 away it took me about 3 hours to load a truck at my best. When they brought him back I had cut my time down to 2.5 hours. That's a big time pay differential. And I was just getting strong enough that I could start tossing two tires at a time. That made a huge difference. Usually I would use my Saturdays to load trucks super slow and study everything I was doing and use the knowledge to improve during the week. Today, I instead decided to just haul ass and I loaded 3 trucks. Loaded 3 faster than it used to take me to load 2 just a month prior.


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